Some 5000 years ago, civilized societies emerged in the valleys of four great rivers: the Nile, the Euphrates, the Yellow, and the Indus. Of these primary Old World civilizations, that of the Indus remains the least known and the most enigmatic, though, paradoxically, it has left perhaps the most lasting influence on the societies that followed it. In this lucid account - abundantly illustrated with maps and photographs, including sixteen pages in full color - archaeologist Jane McIntosh addresses what we know about the rise and fall of the civilization of the Indus and Saraswati valleys, what it might be reasonable to speculate, and what we still hope to learn. While drawing on archaeological and linguistic evidence to create a portrait of the civilization from the inside, McIntosh also carefully pieces together a wider picture of the Indus civilization using evidence from its trading partners in Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf, the Indian subcontinent, and Southwest Asia. The result is an outstandingly vivid recreation of one of the world's great but all-but-lost ancient civilizations.